Monday, July 1, 2019

Carnegie The Magic Detective On The Radio

A couple weeks ago John Michael Marty of WSMI Radio out of Illinois interviewed me for his radio show. John and I were introduced through our mutual friend Steve Baker, known professionally as Mr. Escape. John contacted me about doing an interview where we would talk about Steve, and magic history, Houdini and my own professional performing career. We were supposed to do a 20 minute spot, but I think we ran around 45 minutes (including commercials). It was a fun interview and I thought you might like to listen to it.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Germain's Water Jars

In my quest to finish my podcast on Germain the Wizard, I failed to include one rather significant routine. That routine is Germain's Egyptian Water Jars. It's a very unusual routine, and a very difficult routine. It's been said that only Germain was able to 'pull the magic' out of it*.  What was this mystery?

Stuart Cramer in his book, Germain the Wizard & His Legerdermain, says that this was the trick Germain was best known for, but also the one effect that Germain disliked the most. Where the inspiration for the trick came from is not recorded. If I might speculate however, in 1906, Germain was in England and was known to spend many off hours sight seeing and visiting museums. Of special interest to him were the Egyptian collections. Perhaps seeing items from one of these collections led him to the idea.  He also had another Egyptian effect in the show, Rhadama, The Bride of the Nile, which involved a mummy and a sarcophagus. The mummy comes to life and dances around and then returns to the sarcophagus where it is seen to almost instantly turn back into the wrapped mummy.  In 1918, Germain put this illusion up for sale and I do not know it's whereabouts today.

As for the Egyptian Water Jars. Here is the effect: Six Large Nickel plated Jars are shown to be empty and placed upside down on a thin table made of glass. Then one at a time, each jar fills with water, which is poured into an aquarium or tub. In the case of the tub, it would later be picked up and turned over to show the water had changed to confetti.

In 1909, an unauthorized version of the trick hit the market. In 1910, Germain loaned his set of Jars to Martinka so that they could produce them and sell them officially. This was a rarity to Germain, as he was usually very guarded with this methods and secrets. In truth, he was guarded here too because he didn't  give Martinka the full 'work' on the Egyptian Water Jars. As with much magic, there is more  here than the audience knows and together an incredible illusion was created.

I mentioned earlier that 'no magician had been able to pull any magic' out of the Water Jars, other than Germain. That is not exactly true. Many years after Germain died, David Ben was creating a show called simply, The Conjurer. Among the mysteries to be presented was the Germain Water Jars. As it turns out, David Ben, borrowed a set of Water Jars from Jay Marshall and had them reproduced. The Jars that Marshall had were one of the rare Martinka sets. But I have no doubt that David Ben was able to pull the magic from this wonderful prop and present a truly fantastic mystery.

If you'd like to learn more about Karl Germain and his incredible magic, please check out my podcast #25 on the life of Germain the Wizard.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Daisy White Photos

Podcast Episode 24 is about the life of Daisy White and it's an eye opening episode. I found some facts that have never been revealed to the magic community, as far as I can tell. Along the way I found two images of her that are quite amazing. The photo at the top of the page actually has two pictures of her. The larger one shows her at age 25, the smaller one on the right surrounded by dolls is her at age 5.

Here is an amazing photo of Daisy, again as Gertrude Nickerson, in the year 1903. She would have been 22 years old in this photo. It's a much clearer image than the one above. I wish I had found this before I posted the picture on the podcast, but oh well.

It appears much of her music career took place in and around the Boston area. This worked out well for her because her birthmother lived in the Boston area, even though they did not know each other at the time. If you listen to the podcast you can hear how they eventually discovered each other.

Just for some perspective, this photo to the right is a more well known photo of her and possibly one of the last surviving images of Daisy. She was 46 when this photo was taken and she is actually surrounded by a group of magicians and their wives. Frank Ducrot is standing behind her in the larger image. This was during the time that she had been working at Hornmann's Magic Shop and just shortly before all the Bess Houdini/Arthur Ford nonsense.

I felt so fortunate to find the three photos (top, bottom and upper left), that I'm hoping somewhere along the way to uncover more photos of Daisy. My guess is that theatrical magazines of the early 1900s may have better images of her in her 20s when she was working in musical theatre as Gertrude Nickerson.

Then the lower photo is her around 22 years of age. She was into musical theatre and performing under the name Gertrude Nickerson. Listen to the podcast for even more information about the life of Daisy White. There is an article on this blog about Daisy White, but much of that information has changed, and it's all updated in the podcast.